Friday, 14 May 2010

The Bee Inspector Cometh..

I had a visit from the County Bee Inspector yesterday. (For anyone from overseas, we have a system in the UK of Bee Inspectors funded by the government, whose job it is to help and advise beekeepers, monitor disease, and so on.) It sounds a great system, but Bee Inspectors are pretty thin on the ground, I think we have half a dozen or so to cover four counties in this area, and this was the first time I've had a visit in the five years I've been beekeeping.

So I was very pleased to meet Robert, who examined my bees and took some samples to take away for lab testing, and was a fount of information and practical advice. He was completely non- judgemental of my somewhat ancient and rather tatty equipment, which was a relief, as I thought he might tell me to replace it all.  Beekeeping can be quite an expensive pastime, one of the reasons I am keen to move to top bar hives, and pursue more natural beekeeping methods.

I was so busy with Robert that I forgot to take any photos, so here's a rather boring photo of one of my hives.



Anyway for the time being the results for my hives were that one has a bad case of varroa which Robert has suggested I treat by doing a "shook swarm", which will effectively give the bees new varroa free frames to live in. I don't have enough spare frames to do this so I've sent off for some new ones and will perform the shook swarm as soon as they arrive. My other hive seems to have a virgin queen who isn't laying any eggs, and the solution for this was to transfer a frame of brood from the other hive so that the bees can raise a new queen from this if the current one doesn't get on with it in the next day or two.

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